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The State of Obama’s Dissed Union

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Despite all of the Democratic spinmeisters working the media like they should have been working the Congress, people out here on Main Street aren't all that impressed with the results of President Obama's first year in office. As this post is being written before the State of the Union speech, you will get to compare my thoughts with his by the time this gets published.

Speaking for many, blogger Robert Scheer declares that "The state of the union is just miserable, no matter how President Obama sugarcoats it." There is much evidence to support this contention.

For instance, sales of existing U.S. homes fell 17% as the $8000 tax credit program was to end in November. But in yet another nod to his Wall Street benefactors as he again raced to their rescue, this credit was extended until March 31. Housing sales resumed a light growth pattern. But once this credit ends, with little improvement to be seen in the economy, the housing sector will once again add to the weighty anchor slowly dragging this country into the Great Depression v2.00.

But as the Oval Office oral rotators gleefully spew like lawn sprinklers every chance they get, Obama's new focus is jobs Jobs JOBS! Considering that after a year of neglecting to notice the mauling of Main Street, and at a time when more people are on welfare despite the draconian qualification ritual that Bill Clinton pushed for once he lost his Democratic majority over a botched health care reform proposal, this should be welcome news. It isn't, for the White House can't be sure just how many jobs they created with the minuscule stimulus (compare $787 billion for this to the amount promised to the Wall Street banks – estimates very between at least $13 TRILLION and up to as much as $24 TRILLION [according to MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan] of Your Money.) compared to the billions which have been lost to the banks with no hope of recovery. Because people are about out of alternatives, this has become just another reason to feel like Obama isn't cutting the mustard. for just like under Bush, we just are not a part of Obama's base.

Everyone has by now heard about how low-wage slave driver WalMart is outsourcing 11,200 Sam's Club product demonstrators. Always lower wages. Always. One self-proclaimed affectee calling herself Jared Abbott ("I am a single working mother…") wrote some affecting observations in her J'accuse located in the comment thread of this article. Abbott sadly observes that "I had to watch myself and my elderly coworkers be…[laid off]…so WalMart can make a few extra bucks," then added, "We were just a number to them." She then rips into the media: "Why isn't the news doing more with this subject?"

As I hope to demonstrate below, the media IS covering this topic, and in some detail. It just isn't necessarily being done by one of the usual suspect media giants.

Over at America Online, after convincing 1,100 employees to accept three month's pay as a departing gift, involuntary job losses began, with as many as 2,500 more jobs slated to meet with the real-life version of George Clooney's Up In The Air persona Ryan Bingham. Let's hope they get more than a lot of glib happy talk.

Verizon Communications Inc. missed their estimated 2009 revenue projection by $200 million, largely due to growing unemployment in their customer base. So what do they do? Make it worse by sending 13,000 of their employees to join those ex-customers.

Even the iconic American company Harley Davidson is adding more to the total of thousands of US employees laid off in 2009 by sending another "25 or 30" to "Git their motors running" and "head out on the unemployment highway" to join their their brethren "lookin' for employment in whatever comes their way."

"Yeah – ridin' won't make it happen!" Heavy metal thunder, Batman!

It's enough to make the working class want to sue, and thanks to the Great Recession, there are a lot of defeathered legal eagles looking for some means of gainful employment. Maybe after dropping off dozens of resumes at the usual low-wage last resorts, they would be up for a little public interest pro bono work. Consult your out-of-work legal professional for more details.

Over all last month, unemployment rates rose in 43 states. but the numbers would have been much higher had thousands of frustrated workers continued hunting for work instead of dropping out of the labor force and off the U3 unemployment statistical charts. North Carolina's unemployment rate hit a record high in December of 11.2% while their South Carolina cousins beat that with a record 12.6%.

Maybe Joe Wilson was right after all? Will he try it again this year?

One of the finest municipal transportation agencies in the nation is about out of gas. The Chicago Transit Authority, one of the Windy City's larger employers, is looking to put almost 1200 of their employees under their aging buses. Cheaper to wheel them than deal them, I guess.

Meanwhile, in the Golden State, Los Angeles will lay off at least 1,000 city employees and furlough thousands of its employees throughout 2010. About 1300 people stood in the rain to apply for seasonal jobs at Great America near San Francisco. Some of these may well have been affected by having delayed their federal disability benefits. Capitol Weekly reports that "these furloughs have not saved the state any money, since the federal government pays the furloughed employees’ salaries." Over the line in Nevada, the unemployed there face similar problems getting their unemployment checks – for similar reasons.

As bad as these governmental job cuts have been, the more pressing matter of public safety is being affected, with Butler County, OH closing the Domestic Relations Court, giving up mediation of family disputes and returning hundreds of Juvenile Court cases to the county's overburdened Juvenile Court. Is not Justice Delayed Justice Denied? What about those for whom the Bell of Justice has already tolled? In Fresno, CA, Sheriff Margaret Mims will release inmates and layoff 69 correctional officers due to mandated budget cuts. Feeling safer now that the budgets are being reduced just like the conservatives want?

Deep in the Heart of Texas, unemployed people in Austin have been to so many job fairs that they are beginning to recognize each other, and their unemployment rate is only 6.9%. Over in Weld County, CO, their average weekly wages showed the biggest decline among the country's largest counties at 9%. This was seen as being due to a drop of 32% in average weekly wages for those in the higher-wage jobs of trade, transportation and utilities.

So if Obama cared to know what the state of the union was before he orated another fallacy, maybe he would be well-served to watch The Recess Ends. It is, as one of the creators put it to the Huffington Post, "America's story." Brothers Austin and Brian Chu "wanted to explore how the recession was affecting Americans". They drove across the country, listening to the news and going unannounced to the cites of major layoffs. The brothers spent $15K to make the movie, but they claim they were not in it for the money. "We don't want to charge people for the film," says Austin. "Taking money from a recession film … that would be so wrong."

So what do the brothers want to get out of the film? They want the satisfaction of knowing they got their viewers to "Know the people on the bus with you" and "Don't be afraid of each other," says Austin Chu.

One Chu brother favorite is Detroit resident Grace Lee Boggs. Boggs, an Asian-American married to a former Black Panther associate, merited high praise from the 26-year-old Irvine CA filmmaker: "At around 90, she's still fighting like she's 25."

Fighting like we're 25 is becoming our way of life, according to University of Chicago economics professor Casey B. Mulligan. Mulligan claims that Obama's minimum wage increase which went into effect last July is leading to a decline in part-time jobs. Mulligan sniffs, "…it’s too bad that an ill-conceived and unnecessary minimum-wage law added hundreds of thousands of people to the list of those who today cannot find jobs."

Maybe Mulligan should converse with Austin, TX residents Ray Hebert and Oscar Sotuyo.

Hebert last worked for IBM until 2008, one of thousands of IBM layoffs. He's since submitted 279 job applications over the more than 27 weeks he's been unemployed. He's had a few interviews, but no job offers. He's managed to hang on to his house so far, but the savings are running out and he soon will have no other option — and still no job.

Sotuyo worked for Dell Computer until last March. He has had interviews, and has had a few offers which just might be of some interest to Professor Mulligan. Sutoyu says that he has had interviews for jobs paying much less than his previous salary. "I'd be willing to take a pay cut," he said. "I just can't take a 75 percent pay cut." And this would be AFTER the minimum wage increase.

Just how low are we human workers to go? Retired USAF Lt Col William J. Astore looked at this issue in his Corporations Are Citizens – What Are We? written for truthout.org. In it, Astore says:

"…we've been reduced to obedient eunuchs in thrall to the economy. Our sole purpose is to keep buying and spending. Corporations, meanwhile, are the citizen-activists in our politics, with the voting and speech rights to match their status."

How are we to buy anything and keep the economy going if we can't find jobs that pay enough after necessities for non-necessities? I don't see how we can. therefore, the projectioin for the economy cannot be good.

But it isn't all bad news for the President. He can make the claim that the rising economic tide is lifting all boats, and not be tacking the truth. At least not too much, for Wisconsin's yacht building industry, which lost thousands of jobs during the downturn, is beginning to receive orders for new boats. These new orders are in sufficient numbers that the three main builders are thinking of calling people back to work to meet the growing demand. I guess all those Goldman Sachs corporate citizenship bonuses have to be spent somewhere, right?

At least they have something to spend. Too many out on Main Street do not. As over 70% of the economic activity of the nation once came from Main Street, how is the economy to recover enough to end the growing impoverishment of the American People much less Obama's disastrous health insurance mandate? If money doesn't circulate, then the economy dies. It will take down the mom-and-pops along with the big guys like Caterpillar, as they just learned the hard way. The hope to make it up once they outsource their sales markets to China.

At Caterpillar, they must not believe in America anymore. Before too much longer, neither will the American People, for there is already no longer any benefit to them in doing so.

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About pessimist

  • While Obama certainly is the one who has to answer for the current state of the nation, I firmly believe that no matter who else could have been at the helm during the past year would be facing the same problems.

    I’ve lived through at least 2 or 3 other periods of economic decline and high unemployment. I’ve stood on line to get unemployment benefits and waded through the indignities required to get food stamps. It sucks. Recovery never comes quickly enough.

    But what I’ve learned is that no president, no administration, no Congress carries the total burden of guilt, nor can they, of their own efforts bring about a cure.

    It’s so easy to lambast Obama, but I do believe he has made sincere efforts to alleviate unemployment and the other ills of our economy. He has certainly made mis-steps, but who wouldn’t? Is there anyone on the political horizon who could have accomplished more? I’d respectfully say no.
    There are no knights on white stallions in Washington.

    The ability of any president to effectively foment change is very limited.

    I also suggest that the only thing that’s made Obama’s health care reform a disaster is Republican obstructionism. Republicans have refused to support ANY legislation coming from the Democratic camp. They have even voted against bills that they sponsored once they discovered that Obama supported it.

    And worse is the lack of support Obama has received from the Blue Dogs. There is little hope that anything will be accomplished by the current Congress as this is an election year, and no one has the backbone to support anything even remotely moderate or to the left of center.

    It may feel good to vent your spleen at Obama, but the fault lies with the entire system. It does not function. The “super majority” required in the Senate virtually insures that none of Obama’s agenda will succeed.

    As it stands, only time will heal this nation’s problems.

  • Well, Baritone, I believe in Obama too. I believe he is the most miserable excuse for a chief executive America has ever had, including Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover.

    But even granting that one cannot lay the current recession at Obama’s door (a train crash 50 years in the making cannot blamed solely on the present train conductor), the bottom line is that he has done NOTHING to better your life or that of the Realist or Joanne or Jeannie or anybody else who comments here.

    In fact, his policies have only worsened them. The shit will hit the fan – and when it does, your money will be worth toilet paper. Let’s hope for your sake that you actually have enough food that you actually still need to take a shit, and will find some use for those worthless tens, twenties and fifties you will have in your wallet.

    Soon, Glenn will come on here singing his favorite mantra, “employment is always a lagging indicator” and telling us how the Americans spent themselves out of each previous recession/depression/panic, whatever. When the Realist is done laughing at that one, I hope he doesn’t bust a gut. There may no longer be any employed funeral parlors available to wash his body.

  • Not to worry about my corpse lying in the streets, Reb Ruvy. Between my gold teeth and my meat, the Republicans and stray dog packs will clean up most of the mess. As for my glasses, hair, and tattooed skin, who knows?

  • zingzing

    ah, ruvy. will your prophecies ever include nice things, or are they always death and despair? you wake up every day with the mantra “one day closer to the grave,” don’t you? everything’s always getting worse in ruvy’s world. poor ruvy. may the muslims stay under their towels, may the americans stay under their buck and may the europeans stay under knives for you tonight. we’ll get you tomorrow, never fear.

  • zing,

    will your prophecies ever include nice things, or are they always death and despair?

    I don’t have any prophecies. I’m not a prophet. But if you want “nice” prophecies that likely will come true, watch this. The second half of this video features a murderer pretending at being civilized for the yokels.

    A lot of Ray Kurzweil’s prophecies are set for 20 years in the future. By that time, the world will have changed exponentially – in ways that will leave a futurist like Kurzweil gasping and holding his breath. Poor guy hasn’t got a clue as to what’s coming….

    In the meantime zing, eat, drink and be merry – for tomorrow you may die.

    Have a great day!

  • Arch Conservative

    Btone is right in that no president, no one individual is fully to blame or to be credited when things go bad or when things go good.

    However I don’t see how anyone can continue to support Obama. I don’t get the polls that show his personal likability ratings as high. I’ve never found him to be likable in the least. To me he’s awalys seemed a self absorbed elitist asshole who knows nothing about the lives of the majority of the population.

    Despite his speechwriter’s attempts to pay lip service to the idea that he has some kind of clue as to the struggles and fears that millions of Americans live with daily, the condescension and unimitigated arrogance from Obama and everyone he’s chosen to surround himself with comes shining through.

    For the first time in his life Obama is having to stand on his own two feet in the harsh light of day and he’s failing miserably.

    How anyone can find comfort in the fact that he will be at the helm for another 3 years is beyond me. I take small solace in the fact that, although he may not realize it, there’s more to this nation and this world than Obama and his teleprompted speeches. Obama is most likely going to be the victim of a world class knee capping come November. I only hope the GOP will be a littl emore considerate of this nation than they were under W. Probably not though.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Your presidents have “personal likability ratings?” Wow. What a self-absorbed concept.

    I think that’s really one of the more interesting things, to me, about watching American politics. A lot of it is based on this idea of “personality.” You’ve got W. with his casual, good ol’ boy quality that made people want to have a beer with him. And you’ve got Obama with his sleek whateverness and his love for his wife.

    While the entire voting process is subjective, I think this sort of personality stuff really takes away from the ability of the American people to formulate accurate, educated opinions. I wonder if there’s any getting around it or if the electorate is simply stuck on voting for someone if they “like the guy.”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Ruvy –

    Soon, Glenn will come on here singing his favorite mantra, “employment is always a lagging indicator” and telling us how the Americans spent themselves out of each previous recession/depression/panic, whatever.

    And I’m still waiting for you to disprove either one.

    I’ll refer you to something President Obama pointed out last night: that Clinton handed over to the Bush administration a 200-billion-dollar surplus…and IIRC the CBO had estimated that with the fiscal policy of the time of the handover of the keys to the White House that the fiscal situation would only improve – we were finally on our way to paying off the deficit.

    After eight years of Bush – six of which the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress as well – what happened?

    – Deregulation after deregulation after deregulation.

    – Refusal to enforce longstanding financial regulations that were not otherwise repealed.

    – Getting rid of the “pay-as-you-go” policy of Bill Clinton, wherein any bill containing a tax cut or an increase in spending had to include details on how to pay for that bill.

    – Medicare Part D, wherein Medicare was no longer allowed to negotiate lower prices for medications.

    – Massive tax cuts for the wealthy…which were so egregious that the pay gaps between the CEO’s and the workers, and the proportion of the nation’s wealth held by the top one-percent were BOTH higher than at any point since the Great Depression. (Did this great experiment in ‘trickle-down’ economics work? Ever hear of the Great Recession?)

    Dems are responsible, too – we elected Clinton, and for all the good things he did for the American economy, he signed the repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act. It does not matter that the repeal was passed with veto-proof majorities by the Republican House and Senate – Clinton signed it, and therefore he owned it.

    Ruvy, I really wish that you’d look past your hatred of Obama (because he doesn’t blindly support Israel) and see the precipice where America – and the world – stood in 2008. When a plane is falling out of the sky and a new pilot appears and takes control, he can’t immediately bring the plane back up to its altitude. It takes TIME to pull the plane out of the dive, to get it to level out, and THEN to take it back up to altitude.

    But in this case, half the passengers are screaming at the pilot because he hasn’t gotten the plane back up to altitude yet, never mind that it was the worst nose-dive that plane had been in for close to eighty years. What’s really disturbing is that most of the passengers who are screaming want a pilot who flies like the one who put them in the nose dive to begin with!

    You can stop screaming now, Ruvy. Three months ago I said that the Dow would be above 12,000 by June, and that employment would start making positive gains, also by June. We may or may not make 12,000 on the Dow by then…but we’ll certainly have positive employment gains well before then.

  • I fear that Ruvy will be gravely disappointed when the world doesn’t turn to shit in the next 20 years or so.

    I don’t know what Jews believe concerning the afterlife – but for Ruvy’s sake, I hope its an existence in which he can be even more miserable than he is in this world.

  • }O…yawwn

  • Glenn,

    Excellent piece, but like I often do, your efforts go to waste on many of the haters here.
    You see, the passengers on this plane are not only screaming at the pilot, but couldn’t actually tell you what constitutes a “good pilot”, because their minds are wrapped and twisted in team sport politics.


  • It’s really deplorable that the forward-thinking people keep on defending this administration. Is one year in office not long enough for you to make up your minds? Do you need another three?

    No one is a miracle maker, but surely there were serious missteps. The “sudden” emphasis on the “Job Bill” – a full year after having taken office – surely shows either deranged thinking or sheer incompetence (unless you’re willing to believe that bailing out Wall Street rather than Main Street was necessary). Yes, it was a grave error in judgment, but of course Obama is not going to admit it. Instead, he now shifts gears in light of the recent Republican victories and each of you is buying the sudden change of heart – because you want to believe. The presidency that was supposed to unite the American people in times of crisis has only divided them. So yes, I do lay this at his feet.

    Neither do I buy the notion that the Republicans were dead-set against Obama from the get-go. With the kind of majorities in both houses, whatever opposition there was it should be overcome. Think of LBJ, ex-majority whip, and how he managed to get by-partisan support behind the Civil Rights legislation.

    So yes, Obama is no kind of leader. There is no passion in him (think of Robert Kennedy). He’s not even a good preacher (think of Martin Luther King). Just a charmer (to some of you) but a snake oil salesman to me – indeed, an empty suit.

    The Democratic party is reaping its just rewards for its empty gesture in choosing a mere symbol over substance.

    When will you all wake up?

  • Another good one from MSM, Christ Matthew in person:

    “For over an hour tonight I almost forgot he was black.”

    Shame on MSM in how they are trying to whitewash this failed presidency. But they, too, had a hand in getting this president elected – out of white guilt, I should say, and the desire to come across as progressives – so no, don’t expect them either to go on record as saying they’ve made the mistake.

    And the charade continues, while both parties playing their usual game, but only displaying a great disconnect with the American people as they do so.

    Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have displayed in yesterday’s event even an ounce of populous sentiment – what the American people really wanted to hear. And it’s a shame!

  • I may have not fallen asleep after twenty minutes if he would have gotten to the point: ‘The state of the Union sucks and here’s what we are going to do with it.’ This might as well have been the Michigan state of the state. Nicely sugar coated and full of promises. It’s okay to direct your ire at some people (bankers) while giving yourself a raise and living high on the hog (the Congressional Copenhagen climate change visit is a travesty).

    I am convinced that ALL politicians are disconnected from their constituents.

    Nicely done article, Realist. Now I can go back to being really depressed.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Does anybody actually expect anything substantive from a State of the Union address anymore? I mean, is there anything else to them besides a giant applause-driven circle jerk?

  • Does anybody actually expect anything substantive from a State of the Union address anymore?

    Well, yes. It’s kind of like the Queen’s Christmas speech, in that it’s supposed to be the big traditional annual speech in which El Prez connects with the nation, reveals his calculations as to the exact radius at which the country is circling the drain, and outlines what action is being taken to find the plug.

  • Jordan Richardson

    At least the Queen’s message isn’t interrupted by applause and a blinking Pelosi every ten seconds.

  • Does anybody actually expect anything substantive from a State of the Union address anymore? I mean, is there anything else to them besides a giant applause-driven circle jerk?

    Watching those people act like that filled me with horror, disgust, and incredulity. The incredulity is that people continue to take government seriously at all.

  • After all taking government seriously means you are listening to that pack of morons.

  • Precisely the point, Cindy. It’s not that I or you expected anything. What bugs me that it continues to serve as an occasion to valorize this administration and give a stamp of approval to a system that is clearly broken.

  • Jordan Richardson

    What gets me is how quickly people subject themselves to the mysticism of government authority, as though every new president represents something unique and different.

    There’s this odd disconnect, I think, and people tend to forget that change doesn’t come from the top or the elite or whatever.

    The elite is really accomplishing its job, though, and it has us all scampering around fighting petty battles and ignoring larger vital issues in favour of a set of arbitrary rights that they “give” us to clam us up while our humanity is stripped away systematically.

    It really is a beautiful con and I might actually stand in reverence of it if I had just a tinge more sociopath in me.

  • Here’s a typical account, Cindy:

    State of the Union Analysis

    Appearing during the first half-hour, analyst John M. Curtis spoke about Pres. Obama’s State of the Union speech. The President is a formidable politician/communicator on the level of Kennedy and Reagan, and with this speech reasserted his leadership, he commented.

  • Quite right, Jordan. Most of it is an illusion, but illusion based on hope. And so, once again the people have been let down.

    But I wasn’t even addressing the substantive issues. Even as illusion it was a mediocre performance at that. Yet, everyone is will to eat out of his hand as though here were god’s gift to the nation.

    So yes, the charade continues. And the system is broken.

  • If Jordan were consistent with the sentiments expressed in #21, he should be actively supporting overthrowing the government.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Good thing Jordan, like most humans, is not consistent.

  • Well, we do agree on something, but I do believe in follow-through.

    Although my idea of a solution is not overthrowing the government but ignoring it. We should be constructing alternative networks that would be free of “the political rationale.” And eventual globalization we’re all undergoing just might produce such a beast.

  • Watching those people act like that filled me with horror, disgust, and incredulity. The incredulity is that people continue to take government seriously at all.

    For all that it isn’t constitutionally enshrined, there is an element of ritual involved in the State of the Union address. Other than that it’s rather silly, I don’t see much wrong with it. And anthropologically, it’s fascinating.

    In this ritual, it is the role of the members of Congress who belong to the President’s party to stand up and applaud every ten seconds, even if they don’t agree with what he’s saying; and it is the role of the opposition to sit stony-faced through these displays, even if they do agree.

    The third, and most important, part of the ritual is that under no circumstances is anyone to interrupt the President while he is speaking. (This is the memo Joe Wilson didn’t get last year.) Again, there’s no rule that he shouldn’t be interrupted, but no-one does.

    The whole thing is done to reinforce party unity. Nobody really thinks both entire congressional parties think and act as one, or that there aren’t numerous minds in the Chamber who are dearly wishing that they could jump out of their seats, shut the President up and give their own speech instead.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Follow-through is vital, Roger, and that is something I do subscribe to.

    I’ll not use this space to brag, however, about the sorts of compassionate service I believe to be integral to impressing my worldview upon others.

    Again, I have suggested forms of civil disobedience and non-violent protest in other threads. I, too, have no practical interest in any sort of government overthrow. It’s not something a young man depending on Canada’s immigration system with respect to his wife’s “status” speaks about or contemplates, if you take my meaning.

    Anyways, I do find the general paradox of humanity interesting. I believe we all exist in such a state, that many of our decisions often lie in direct contradiction with one another, and that inconsistency is indeed one of the key identifying factors of a thinking human being.

    Something I’ve been pondering:

    A disciple asked, “What is the difference between the enlightened and the unenlightened man?”

    The Master replied, “The unenlightened man sees a difference, but the enlightened man does not.”

  • #27,

    Well, Dreadful. I’d seem to me that some of the parliamentary practices in Great Britain are a bit more unruly, and they’re so much better for it.

    At least they don’t make any bones about it that politics is just a show.

  • I didn’t mean to suggest, Jordan, that you’re not true to your beliefs, I hope you understand.

    I only responded to form of words.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Absolutely understand, Rog.

  • Is one year in office not long enough for you to make up your minds? Do you need anoher three?

    Roger, that’s kinda sorta why your presidents are elected to four-year terms, not one.

  • Baronius

    Dread – Heh. Makes me think about the State of the Union speech in Idiocracy.

  • Clavos the Impaler

    The incredulity is that people continue to take government seriously at all.

    Many of us don’t.

  • Unfortunately. But I do believe we’d be better off for having “vote of no confidence.”

  • I’d seem to me that some of the parliamentary practices in Great Britain are a bit more unruly, and they’re so much better for it.

    There’s just as much ritual about the cheering, jeering and heckling that goes on in the House of Commons, Rog, as there is about the State of the Union.

    And if you want full-on, all-out ritual, look no further than the State Opening of Parliament.

    But on the whole, I’d say that British politics does have a much better balance of respectfulness and subversiveness than the US.

  • #34,

    whether we do or don’t, the effects are real.

  • Well, at least they all realize they’re playing a game, and this involves playing by the rules.

    What’s refreshing is that even the spectators are made aware of the fact after watching a Parliament in session. It this makes for lesser deception.

  • If Jordan were consistent with the sentiments expressed in #21, he should be actively supporting overthrowing the government. (Roger)

    Or he might just reject government.

    Good thing Jordan, like most humans, is not consistent. (Jordan)

    Well, I can see why you might not support overthrow of the government. But, how can you say what you did if you don’t reject government?

  • I believe Jordan made his position rather clear, Cindy (see #28). I have no doubt he’s doing what he can. And I’m certain you do too.

  • Cindy,

    Perhaps you’re asking to much.

    It reminds me of Christ’s response to the rich young ruler:

    “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.” Mark 10:2122

    Well, it’s not a perfect analogy, but we’re all constrained in various ways. And sainthood is indeed a rare quality.

  • too much …

  • It requires sainthood to reject the idea of government? It merely requires looking at the idea with an open mind, doesn’t it?

    Look at what he is saying in #21. He is saying that the elite are using govt to con us and strip us of our humanity.

    My reply is that, while I understand his not electing to overthrow the govt, I would think at minimum he would reject it. I mean, he just said it govt is a con game that robs people of their humanity. Why would it take sainthood to say, ‘I reject that.’

    Are you construing some other meaning to what I am saying?

  • No, I’m not. And we both agree that he’s perfectly aware of what we’re all up against. Just saying that especially in regard to Patricia’a article, Jordan may have a “soft spot” on account of his special circumstances – namely, his wife. Which isn’t to say he’s got a soft spot when it comes to other things.

    What I mean, each of us are limited as regards the kinds of things we can resist. A family person is more constrained, for example, in the kinds of things he/she can do by that very circumstances, more so in any case than a person who doesn’t have such ties and obligations.

    “Sainthood” is posited only as an ideal condition – where acts of individual resistance and self-transformation encounter no limits.

  • their very circumstances . . .

  • I’ve just discovered my voice, Cindy. I’m not a progressive at all. I am a populist.

    Long live the Gracchi Brothers, Tiberius and Gaius, both assassinated for the right cause. And long live Julius Caesar, another populist of note and staunch advocate of the agrarian reforms. I couldn’t be in a better company.

    Power to the people!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cobra –

    Thanks – and you’re right, I’m wasting my breath. I try to justify it by telling myself I’m sharpening my rhetoric for a book someday…but something tells me that’s going to be a ‘coulda-woulda-shoulda’ thing….

  • Good job, Roger in 47. But you are misconstruing me as evidenced by 42 and 45.

    I agree with 45 why would you make an argument TO me that I make myself (as is clear on the other thread) unless you are misconstruing me.

    Rejecting something is a decision or opinion. It does not require sainthood or action. It has nothing to do with having a family or anything else.

  • Cindy,

    Jordan’s contention was restricted to travel. Your hands may well be tied on account of your own special circumstances.

    My point really is, human life and our relations take precedence over “revolutionary action.” And to ignore the former would be a condition of sainthood, or somewhat equivalent to taking Jesus’s advice.

  • Obama is:

    1. Evil
    2. The Anti-Christ
    3. Stupid
    4. Liar
    5. Tone Deaf
    6. Power Hungry
    7. Clueless
    8. Corrupt
    9. Greedy
    10. All of the Above

    Include any other derrogatives you may wish to add.

    Then enlighten all of us as to how much better things would be if only YOU were in charge. If you need more paper, remain seated, raise your hand, and I’ll bring you some. No talking. Begin.

  • Baritone,

    I fear that Ruvy will be gravely disappointed when the world doesn’t turn to shit in the next 20 years or so.

    In 20 years, the world is going to be a great place. It is going to be a wonderful place. You will see true peace taking hold, you will see miracle cures of diseases, you will see exponential change – for the better. Lives will last longer, and many people will approach the age that Moses died at – 120.

    The catch is that before you see this, you will see what a horrible nightmare the world can become in the hands of truly evil people.

    True evil, Baritone, is not snarling hatred – it is cold indifference to human suffering. And that is what you see from Obama – if you cannot recognize it already. The guy gave a so-so speech – and a whole bunch of “supporters” are masturbating over it. He doesn’t give a damn about any of you. If he did give a damn, he still wouldn’t be competent enough to get you out of the hell you’ve been led into – but the point is, he doesn’t give a damn. You should have seen how much he DOESN’T give a damn by how much he hamstrung American aid to Haiti in the first few days – when it was essential.

    But you don’t want to look, do you Baritone? You would rather not know.

  • The world’s going to end as we know it in a couple of years. It’s been prophecized. Why do you think Oprah is retiring? She’s got a berth on that Good Ship Lollipop in Colorado along with the other rich folk and politicos who are slated for a role in the new world order.

    Prepare Ye, the way of the Lord…

  • Ruvy, I really wish that you’d look past your hatred of Obama (because he doesn’t blindly support Israel)

    Must I remind you? I SUPPORTED OBAMA IN 2008! While he is an incompetent and is devaluing your currency down to nothing, he was the man I wanted for Israel. His anti-Israel policies are doing the trick and turning the average Israeli against the American government. My people are finally waking up to the truth about your government – that it is no friend of Israel or of Jews.

    So far as I’m concerned, he is doing his job just fine. That is why you never hear me calling for him to be killed. I have a vested interest in him staying alive and healthy until he does what I think G-d has in mind for him.

    But this thread isn’t about Israel, it’s about America.

    You yourself admit the guilt of prior administrations in dumping you into the toilet you are in. I AGREE WITH YOU. THIS IS NOT ALL OBAMA’S FAULT!

    Where we disagree are these areas. You seem unable to see that an economy has to produce its way out of a recession. If an economy has real products to sell, there are jobs. Without those products to sell, there are no jobs. Glenn, you should have been in business for 20 years instead of trying to steer a boat around. If you had been, you would understand that simple fact of life. Employment is a lagging indicator when it takes time to develop a production and sales base. Neither is occurring in the United States right now. So employment is not a lagging indicator. It is shrinking, accurately reflecting the real health of the American economy.

    The second area we disagree on is when you should try to spend money to get out of trouble. In nearly all the cases when the American government spent money to get out of economic trouble, either your country was a creditor country – meaning everybody owed you – or the debt was not serious. The last time this happened was really in 1981. Bush did not spend you out of a recession in the early 90’s and lost his job to Clinton. Under Clinton, the economy produced its way out of the recession of the early 90’s. The dot.com recession occurred for two reasons. The shmucks on the fast boat to riches did not have the patience to understand how exponential growth works – so they killed – or tried to kill – the tigers they didn’t know how to ride. The second reason was that they panicked and wanted to cash in out of fear – like scared cattle. But America never really got over the dot.com bust because Bush started spending you out of house and home on his ill-directed “war on terror”, and when the bubble of artificial prosperity finally burst in 2008, he again spent like a drunken sailor. Obama is doing no better, spending money that has no backing at all!

    The final area where we disagree are on Obama’s intentions. You think he has good intentions. I sense that his intentions are evil – all around. He is not just out to screw Israel – he is out to screw America also.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    If you truly do see yourself as a populist, then you should have loved Obama’s speech, for populist it certainly was. There is not a single part of the speech that comes to mind that does not subscribe to populist ideals.

    If you can point out which part of his speech was against populist ideals, please let me know.

    I’ll long remember this speech, just as I still remember one Reagan’s SotU addresses – in it, he repeatedly used an old Russian proverb: “Trust, but verify”, and IIRC juxtaposed it with “Facts are stubborn things”. Those two quotes had a profound effect on my life…and they’re why I’m a Democrat now rather than a Republican.

    Now, you’ve been beating up on him for a while…but I trust the numbers more than I do your opinion. Where is the Dow now, brown cow (couldn’t resist), as compared to a year ago? What would have happened if he hadn’t insisted on the stimulus? How deep would unemployment have gone then? Remember, every single recovery from recession (or Depression) has been accomplished by government spending.

    Y’know, Roger, I think most of the reason why you don’t like Obama is that you don’t know just how much has been done in just this first year of his administration.

    Remember S-Chip? The Republicans didn’t want to fund it, but Obama did. And then there’s the Lily Ledbetter Act. There’s the rejection of lobbyists in the administration (and last night he tightened the strings on lobbyists). In fact, here’s a few examples from a list of campaign promises that President Obama has kept:

    – Created an Advanced Manufacturing Fund to invest in peer-reviewed manufacturing processes

    – Established a credit card bill of rights

    – Expanded loan programs for small businesses

    – Extended and indexed the 2007 Alternative Minimum Tax patch

    – Expanded eligibility for State Children’s Health Insurance Fund (SCHIP)

    – Directed military leaders to end war in Iraq, and ensured that there are no permanent military bases in Iraq. All combat troops are still on schedule to be removed from Iraq by this coming August, just like he promised on the campaign trail

    – Created a real National Infrastructure Protection Plan

    – Initiated a grant and training program for law enforcement to deter cyber crime

    – Created a rapid response fund for emerging democracies

    – Granted Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send money to Cuba

    – Restored funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne/JAG) program. This program was supporting anti-gang and anti-drug task forces across the country, and the Bush administration had cut the funding 83 percent.

    – Release presidential records

    – Restored funding to the EEOC and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs

    – Used the private sector to improve spaceflight

    – Established special crime programs for the New Orleans area, and rebuilt schools for New Orleans. One wonders why this couldn’t have been done under the Republicans?

    – Banned lobbyist gifts to executive employees

    – Created new criminal penalties for mortgage fraud

    – Required states to provide incentives for utilities to reduce energy consumption

    – Supported high-speed rail (he’s in Florida today breaking ground on a new high-speed rail project)

    – Equalized tax breaks for driving and public transit

    – Doubled federal spending for research on clean fuels

    – Raised the small business investment expensing limit to $250,000 through the end of 2009

    – Extended unemployment insurance benefits and temporarily suspend taxes on these benefits

    – Reversed restrictions on stem cell research

    There’s quite a bit more, of course. According to the above list from the Pulitzer Prize-winning Politifact.com, President Obama’s kept 91 campaign promises, compromised on 33, and broke 15. There are 87 which are presently stalled, but 275 are still in the works, still progressing towards reality. I defy you to find a president since the Civil War other than FDR who can claim the same level of action in the first year of office.

    Like I keep saying, Roger – I deal in facts. If the facts showed me that Obama was doing poorly (or worse, like his predecessor), then I’d be at least as mad as you are towards him. But the facts show me that he’s been pretty doggone busy getting things done, trying to make things better, and even trying to mend relations (unsuccessfully) with the Republican party.

    Cut the guy some slack – for his first year, with the Wal-Mart-sized poo-poo sandwich he was handed along with the keys to the White House, he’s done very, very well.

  • 49 – I could not agree more.

  • Too little, too late Glenn. The country is divided, not united. Wall Street shouldn’t have been bailed out. Emphasis on jobs should have been from the get-go, not a year later. The cabinet is filled with the old Wall Street cronies in positions where it really counts. Facts don’t mean a great deal to me, perception does. Neither does the Dow Jones average – another illusory measure. And I would’t buy any stocks if I were you.

    Admit it, Glenn – “it’s the economy, stupid!” – and that ought to have been the first if not the only order of business. And you can’t argue now from the position of ignorance, like saying that things would have been infinitely worse were it not for Obama.

    That kind of argument won’t fly. Only the die-hards would buy it.

    The progressives were quite correct when they were predicting piss-poor performance because there wasn’t sufficient pressure from the people to offset the Wall Street interests – just the opposite to what obtained in FDR’s case, which kept FDR honest. (See my article on Obama’s stimulus package, and discussion on the Democracy Now! forum).

    So no, Glenn, I don’t regard him as a populist, and I don’t go by his darn speeches. He presented himself as a populist during the primaries, but the tune has quickly changed once in office. And now, he’s trying to do the same thing again.
    Fooled once, fooled twice . . . Enough for me.

    So please forgive me if I rather wait and keep my eyes open rather than rushing to judgment.

  • A link for you, Glenn, transported from Dan Miller’s thread.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    Too little, too late Glenn.

    Too LITTLE? Again, I defy you to find a president since 1900 other than FDR who has done so much, so quickly, despite being handed two wars and a near-depression!

    Second, I defy you to show me even ONE recession where jobs did NOT lag behind the recovery!

    Come on, Roger – don’t just talk the talk!

  • Glenn, you’re picking on form of words – a mere figure of speech. I specify my reasons right after, throughout the remainder of the comment.

  • Jordan Richardson


    You can “reject” the idea of government all you like, but without action such ideas are just words on a page or thoughts locked inside a brain.

    I am aware of the reality of government as it stands in our world. I choose to educate myself on these things, to ponder how I can best represent my worldview, and to live my live with compassion and morality as best I can.

    You are correct when you say that rejecting something is an opinion. But opinions, without actions, are useless. I can hold all the opinions I want – and I do – but if I’m not living the change or expressing compassion through my daily actions, those opinions are utterly useless scraps of thought.

    how can you say what you did if you don’t reject government?

    Reject government how? Reject the idea of being governed? Reject the notion of government? Reject my specific government? Reject the notion that society has leadership?

    Again, Cindy, it’s all well and good to stand by an opinion. But I’m more interested in how these words leap off of the page (or the screen) and implant themselves in day-to-day existence.

    I know, for instance, what my rejection of Wal-Mart looks like. I know what my rejection of McDonald’s looks like. I know what my desire to buy local produce looks like. I know how to implement those “opinions” and create action through those beliefs.

    But how do you “reject government” without manifesting that rejection in your day-to-day life?

    Most Canadians, Cindy, affirm the notion that our government is not to be trusted and that it is comprised of an elite ruling class of power hungry jackasses. But most Canadians, conversely, pay their taxes, support their families and live day-to-day as well.

    This is, as I was telling Roger, that grand sense of inconsistency that we all go through. Do Canadians reject government to some extent? Sure do. Do we also reject the border? Sure. Nobody likes the border or the idea that we have to sit in line just to go down to Bellis Fair for a bit of holiday shopping.

    But what does the philosophy of rejection look like? What does your idea of “forming enemies” of authority figures and the like actually look like in application?

    As Roger said, we’re all in bondage to some extent by our own lives UNLESS we choose to take up the ultimate mantle and make ourselves, as Christ was and as Gandhi was, veritable martyrs for the cause. Beyond doing that, beyond some actual manifestation of our ideas, what good is it for me to simply say that I “reject government?”

    I think it’s more compassionate and conscientious for me to say that I reject hate. That, Cindy, is something I can abide by no matter where I go, no matter what border crossing I take, and no matter what path my life takes. If I reject hate and choose love, I’m making a conscious effort to smile at the border guard or “follow the rules” even when they wound my pride. But I’m also making a conscious effort to fight against the specific instances of abuse that I understand to not be necessarily indicative of the position or of authority itself. Authority, to me, need not be a form of abuse or slavery. Labeling it as such is an oversimplification of the nuances of human nature and of our natural sense of being.

  • pablo

    Baritone 50:

    “Obama is:

    1. Evil
    2. The Anti-Christ
    3. Stupid
    4. Liar
    5. Tone Deaf
    6. Power Hungry
    7. Clueless
    8. Corrupt
    9. Greedy
    10. All of the Above

    Include any other derrogatives you may wish to add.

    Then enlighten all of us as to how much better things would be if only YOU were in charge. If you need more paper, remain seated, raise your hand, and I’ll bring you some. No talking. Begin.”

    Well now, I never thought that I would see Baritone saying this about Obama, there is hope after all.

    Since you asked Baritone here is my two cents worth.

    First and foremost uphold the US constitution. Seems simple enough, however there is alot of nuance involved. This means such things as not engaging in undeclared that only Congress has the authority to declare. Abolish the FED and the fiat money system, as set forth in the Constitution. Get rid of the national security secret government with particular emphasis on such unconsitutional totalitarian tools such as National Security letters, sneek and peek warrants, execetive fiat of enemy combatants, with particular reference on US citizens, as there is already a treason law on the books in the constitution that is quite clear.

    Abolish NAFTA, GATT, and the WTO, all of which were only created to further enrichen multi national corporations, and exploit slave labor.

    End wiretapping and data trolling of american citizens as well as getting out of the Echelon Network. Support the tenth amendment and the dual sovereignty between the federal government and the states.

    Get rid of inland US border patrol roadblocks, that are gestapo in nature.

    Start a criminal investigation of the major banks in regards to the financial meltdown, with particular reference to Goldman Sachs, and their obviously criminal conflict of interest in the mortgage markets.

    End any semblance of free speech zones, and uphold the right of the people to peaceably assemble without a permit.

    Thats just a tad Baritone, if you want more I will be happy to oblige.

    Oh yeah and open up a truly independent investigation of 9/11. Throw Condoleeza rice in prison for saying shortly after 9/11 to the american people that we had no idea that terrorists would ever use a plane as a weapon.

  • Arch Conservative

    Btone 50…you left out the most obvious ones………..

    1. Narcissistic
    2. Self absorbed
    3. Arrogant
    4. Elitsit
    5. Condescending
    6. Smug
    7. Smarmy
    8. Petty
    9. Thin skinned
    10. Consumer of inordinate amounts of Arugula
    11. All of the above

  • Jordan Richardson

    10. Consumer of inordinate amounts of Arugula

    Obama should man up and eat iceberg.

  • I just love multiple choice tests!

    Who are you describing?

    I choose 8. Unless, this is a test about Obama then I give him an A+ and throw out this little test…

  • Clavos the Impaler

    A disciple asked, “What is the difference between the enlightened and the unenlightened man?”

    The Master replied, “The unenlightened man sees a difference, but the enlightened man does not.”

    Excellent! Thanks for posting this, Jordan! Source?

  • Clavos,

    How can a human being , enlightened or not, distinguish between what is and what might be, if they don’t see the differences in one-another or in the conditions of their own respective environments?

    jeannie the difference seer

  • 60 – Jordan,

    First of all, how do you notice what actions are possible if you don’t hold an opinion? Isn’t just holding an opinion a measure of support to others who hold that opinion? Doesn’t holding an opinion alone serve to spread that view or legitimate it? Doesn’t refusal to hold an opinion dismiss out of hand an idea as not even worthy of holding?

    Is there some reason one cannot reject government and at the same time reject hate? Is there some reason that one cannot pity one’s enemy?

    What does rejecting the government look like? Well, first it looks like saying I do not support something that is dehumanizing. Other ideas flow from that decision. I imagine anyone who ever got anywhere first started with a decision. One thing that might happen is you might become interested in other people who reject government and what they say and do and think and how they put their rejection into action. Have you explored this yet?

    You stated that government is used by the elite to dehumanize people.

    Why don’t you try explaining to me what the alternative looks like (and feels like)–not rejecting something you know is dehumanizing.

    Irena Sendler, Oskar Schindler, the underground railroad, Gandhi…are all figures we know. One doesn’t have to be a martyr. There have been many, many more we don’t know.

    I think you are confused about authority. What you stated in #21 was clear. (And true, imo) Please explain how that is consistent with your multiple retractions that let you off the hook for not rejecting the govt?

  • Pablo,

    I’m sure Barack will get right on all that.

    The Rest of You:

    I would take my list, add Arch’s list and then add one more: None of the above.

    That would be my choice.

    All of you Obama haters still can’t get over the idea that we have a president who is likely a lot smarter than any of us. You all obviously prefer someone you can feel superior to. Since that is not the case with Obama, you chose to completely mis-interpret his demeanor.

    There are those who still think that Bush was just a good ole boy who you could sit down and suck up suds with, when the fact is that he came from far more “high falutin” east coast old money than Obama ever dreamed of. His “aw shucks” demeanor was owing largely to his stupidity.

    Obama has made some mis-steps, but the notion that he is arrogant or condescending, or uncaring, or any of that is just spiteful bullshit.

    There is not a single human being on the planet who could have done any better during the past year than Obama has. He hasn’t been great, but neither has he been the train wreck you all assert.

  • Roger writes:

    “Too little, too late Glenn. The country is divided, not united. Wall Street shouldn’t have been bailed out. Emphasis on jobs should have been from the get-go, not a year later.”

    What KIND of jobs, Roger? People keep taling about “jobs” as this amorphous thing that can be just dropped into place by executive order.

    If you’re talking about GOVERNMENT jobs, you’re increasing the size of government, and right wingers will scream in horror.

    If you’re talking private sector jobs, that’s NOT up to the President of the United States. That’s up to the private sector, and despite the lowest level of corporate taxation in decades, the private sector in America is hell bent on outsourcing jobs overseas.

    Without banks and Wall Street, where does the investment capital come from for these businesses?(not banks and Wall Street were doing the best job at that.)

    This is just Obamahatred, pure and simple.


  • Baritone,

    I wish you could see and hear me right now, because I am standing up out of my chair and clapping my hands together for YOU!

    jeannie the obama mama!

  • “All of you Obama haters still can’t get over the idea that we have a president who is likely a lot smarter than any of us. You all obviously prefer someone you can feel superior to. Since that is not the case with Obama, you chose to completely mis-interpret his demeanor.”

    Baritone, that’s unlike you, friend. I, for one, have never been an Obama hater – not before and not now. True, I had reservations about him during the primaries, but have put it all aside once he became the Democratic party nominee.

    Again, all I see great discrepancy between his speeches and my idea of the right kind of action. Everything should come in its proper time, and there is no question in my mind that this administration did not have its priorities straight (I’ve already spoken on THAT subject.) Ultimately, therefore, I have to lay the blame on the president and on no one else – inexperienced as he may be, he’s still in charge and it’s his judgment that must be questioned, not his advisors’.

    And then you say in the end:

    “There is not a single human being on the planet who could have done any better during the past year than Obama has.”

    Not, this again is totally unlike you. How would you argue for this proposition. Consequently, there is no other way to accept this as your personal credo – still, rather hastily expressed.

    And no, he hasn’t been a train wreck – at least that’s not my view of the first year. The jury is still out.

    Meanwhile, I might refer to another, perhaps more balanced, assessment of year one, as per following:

    The Nation (see the second -listed article by Howard Zinn).

  • “If you’re talking private sector jobs, that’s NOT up to the President of the United States. That’s up to the private sector.”

    May be so, may be not, Cobra. Why then the sudden move about tax credits to small business? Why wait a full year? Why talking about the fast rail project this late into the game – a full year has elapsed? Why not at the start?

    Sorry, Cobra. Perhaps I shouldn’t have said “too late,” just a figure of speech, but no, I don’t agree that this administration had it’s priorities straight once it assumed office. If you doubt me, read some real progressive thinkers like Naomi Klein about reservations they had about Obama compromising too much and being to beholden to private interests. If you wish, I could refer you to some sources.

    The odd thing is – we both agree on the ends, but I just refuse to be blinded by the Obama image so much so that I don’t see his defects. And neither should you.

    And I don’t give a frigging thing whether Obama is black or white or an alien. I’d say the same thing regardless of who would be occupying the Oval Office.

    I don’t have much patience, Cobra, with imperfections of persons occupying such all-important positions. We voted them into office, they command the position of public trust, and they all should act accordingly. And if they fuck up, I’d expect them to come out and say that.

    Yes, Cobra, it’s zero tolerance for me insofar as presidents are concerned.

    So let’s not worry about my appraisal of year one – water under the bridge – just because it’s different from yours. Nothing rides on it, anyway, whether we agree on this or not. What matters is the remainder of this presidency.

    I’m willing to wait and see, and so should you.

  • too beholden to . . .

  • I’m willing to wait and see…

    Yesterday you were saying that a year was enough and wondering why everyone else hadn’t made up their minds.

  • I don’t believe I’m inconsistent. On year one it’s my honest opinion that he failed. And I can only judge him on the basis of past performance. But I do have to keep an open mind as to what the next three years will bring, don’t I? since I’m not a mind reader (perhaps hope is a better term).

    So yes, wait and see is the correct kind of stance.

  • It does turn up to be an interesting discussion (#60 and #67), Jordan and Cindy. We are dealing here with practical applications of what it means “not to participate” in so far as government is concerned – with the range of things which are doable or possible.

    I must admit that Jordan’s last comment caused me certain unrest. He says, for example: “I know, for instance, what my rejection of Wal-Mart looks like. I know what my rejection of McDonald’s looks like. I know what my desire to buy local produce looks like. I know how to implement those “opinions” and create action through those beliefs.”

    This is a noteworthy remark, for it does give us an idea how to think about “creative resistance” or “non-participation.” But the problem is, as Jordan asks right after, “But how do you “reject government” without manifesting that rejection in your day-to-day life?”

    Perhaps the stress on “manifesting” is superfluous here, because manifesting itself, one way or another, such a general kind of stance must. (I think Jordan is groping here for examples, on analogy with how we reject Wal-Mart or Mc Donald’s, and this groping is well taken, for we do need concrete examples in order to see what’s involved with adopting such a general stance.)

    Which brings up two related points. First, “rejecting government” in any meaningful sense, can only mean rejecting aspects of it, on a touch and go basis, working, that is, on the fringes. And we can think, I suppose, of concrete examples here – like, for instance, refusal to fly (trite as it may be).

    But the second point is – how does one reject , and/or refuse to participate in, the government on a wholesale basis? And this is rather difficult to imagine how we might be able to do so (unless we’re willing to overthrow it, which is not an option here – for willing or not, we can’t get around the fact that administration/management/governance is part of our lives.

    To wit, we can refuse to fly, but we still must drive now and then and use public highways; if we refuse to drive, we must walk then, usually on publically-maintained roads; if we refuse to avail ourselves of that, then we must settle for some country trails, which are still part of the public domain. And if we take this kind of thinking to extreme, soon we are going to run out of options. We would have to become a kind of hermit living on the mountaintop – if we wish to be totally true to our stance of “refusing to participate.” Caricature, of course, but that’s the logical progression.

    Two responses come to mind, individual and collective. Thoreau’s notion of “civil disobedience” provides an example of possible action on the individual level. Note however that even here, Thoreau was being selective and chose his battles. One cannot resist everything.

    As to the collective kind of response – I’m thinking along the lines of certain kinds of the communities – such as the Amish, for example, or even the hippie communities in the sixties. Now, the interesting thing is that such communities were more or less withdrawn from the mainstream of (political life), relatively speaking, self-sufficient economically and emotionally, and could thus function as such – as more or less independent of the political rationale which defines and actuates the greater part of society. (Cindy might think of Zapatistas here, I don’t know too much about it.)

    I would argue, however, that when Cindy speaks of “Irena Sendler, Oskar Schindler, the underground railroad, Gandhi…[and] all figures we know,” we are talking about exceptional individuals – if not saints than on the way to approaching sainthood.

    But the question on the table is directed at “the common man.” And for the time being, the best answer I can give must have to do with creating alternative networks, social rather than political in the commonly understood sense. And perhaps this kind of practice might eventually lead to formation of communities which are also freed of the existing “political rationale.”

    So much for starters.

  • Baritone, Cobra, et al:

    What I find interesting is that the most biting critique of Obama comes only from more progressive and more populist voices than the president’s own. Notice, for instance, the relative scarcity of critique from all those who represent themselves as Obama’s most bitter ideological opponents, or the rather puny character of those critiques – puny because based on totally erroneous ideological premises. Indeed, only among true progressives and populist there can be something like energized debate and honest disagreement because our ideological assumptions are the same (and right-headed, I must add). So our arguments are essentially about the purity of those ideas – the same kind of argument which during the Reign of Terror led to massive executions for the simple reason that the executioners deemed the victims not pure enough and therefore betraying the cause of the revolution. (I’ll provide the appropriate link shortly.)

    So therefore take solace, Cobra, Baritone and Jeannie, that we’re all in the same camp. I am not your ideological enemy, I just happen to think that. judging by his performance thus far, Obama has “betrayed” – to use colorful language here and only for the effect – the cause. I expected more of him, but perhaps you didn’t. And if that’s the essence of our disagreement, which I think it is, I’d say it’s petty.

    So let’s all hope for what the next three years might bring.

  • On year one it’s my honest opinion that he failed. And I can only judge him on the basis of past performance. But I do have to keep an open mind as to what the next three years will bring, don’t I?

    As I said yesterday, that’s why presidents are elected to four-year terms. There’s precious little anyone can accomplish in a single year. And I think a lot of the groundwork for recovery has been laid.

    What, then, do you think of Glenn’s argument that the current recession is ending quicker than any other in history, and that this is in no small part due to Obama’s policies?

  • I disagree with you. Even if little could be accomplished during the first year in terms of tangible results, he hadn’t set the right kind of tone, wasn’t communicating sufficiently with the people. I do place the present rift, the tea-parties, the unruly townhall meetings, partly at his feet – however much it may be the case that there was plenty of instigation going on.

    As to Glenn’s argument, it’s an argument from ignorance, I should say (not Glenn’s ignorance, of course). No one can say that we’re out of it by any stretch, or the extent to which Obama’s policies have been instrumental, directly or indirectly, in the event that we will some day experience economic recovery.

    So the jury is still out on this matter and however well-meaning, Glenn is speaking prematurely.

    The ground for recovery is being laid, I’d argue – now that the administration realizes that economic recovery is the most pressing issue. As I said, the tax breaks for small business should have been instituted from the get-go, as well as massive infrastructure projects (like the fast rail). So yes, they finally do see the light, but not before they’ve experienced major political setbacks.

    So again, I’ll have to wait and see.

  • Mark

    we need a statement of civil disobedience similar to homespun and salt production

    grow food and share it with your neighbors/strangers(for example)…distribute your surpluses where you see fit —

    experiment with alternative networks, social and economic

    …and oh yea — fire your local boards of directors.

  • Since you’re on it, Mark, I’d like to refer you to the following, Solari site.

    Look up the concept of permaculture. It’s beginning to make more and more sense.

    Perhaps you could give me feedback.

  • The notion that government is broken and therefore I won’t do try to do anything about it strikes me as unproductive.

    There is of course some merit in Doc’s observation in Comment #78 that There’s precious little anyone can accomplish in a single year. However, in my view, President Obama’s Hope and Change theme, which probably did a lot to get him elected, caused widespread expectations that he would accomplish a lot and do so promptly.

    Few would disagree that hope is good and that change is needed. The rub is that the changes hoped for by many, both right and left, seem unlikely to come to fruition anytime during his term in office due to President Obama’s abysmal failures as perceived by those who voted for as well as those who voted against him.


  • Yes, the notion is not very productive, DM, given our two-party political system which, according to most, shall remain with us forever. Well, nothing is forever, and the possibility of the emergence of a third party is an impossibility.

    My position is that neither party addressed populous concerns, not really. One might argue that Obama’s address was populous in nature; whether it was convincing only time will tell. But the Republican response was equally lackluster and bland. The issues before us can no longer be reduced to the single question of big or small government but what kind of government.

    One way or another, neither Obama’s most ardent supporters have been reassured, in my opinion, nor the tea-party folks, and I assume now it’s a legitimate movement.

  • . . . is not an impossibility.

  • Mark

    The notion that government is broken and therefore I won’t do try to do anything about it strikes me as unproductive.

    Who is advocating this position, Dan?

  • Along similar lines, Mark, you might want to look up Mohammed Yunus and the concept of Grameen Bank.

  • Mark

    Rog, I ‘support’ pretty much any experiment in concentrating resources for projects that are looking for alternatives to profit as motive and organizing principle.

  • Roger,

    I would argue, however, that when Cindy speaks of “Irena Sendler, Oskar Schindler, the underground railroad, Gandhi…[and] all figures we know,” we are talking about exceptional individuals ” if not saints than on the way to approaching sainthood.

    You mean you would agree, right? My point here was that these people are well-known for their sacrifices. The important point there was that there are millions of people, perhaps, who are not known.

  • Mark


  • What we do need, then, is a number of John Galts after the image opposite to that provided by Ayn Rand.

    A possible theme for a futuristic, science-fiction novel.

  • Well, perhaps, Cindy.

  • Mark

    Shrugging off capitalism — nice

  • Here’s an idea, Mark and Cindy.

    Let’s recruit Bill Gates and convince him of the right ways to spend his money.

  • Yes. The pun wasn’t intended, but it’s so much sweeter for the fact.

  • But, one more thing here bothers me. The idea that they are “saints” can prevent one from even attempting to do what’s right. It’s easy to simply decide only saints can stand up for what they believe in and do something difficult. Perhaps the soldier who disobeys thinks sainthood might be necessary to do such a thing. It’s so much easier to just take your pay and do whatever you’re told.

    We don’t need saints. We need ordinary people to change their minds and stick together. Making excuses is not helpful.

    Jordan claims that just believing something is not action enough. I believe something and I need support from other people who believe a similar something. The more people believe the more people can believe. That is how movements work. Then we change something and that is without overthrowing the govt. So, does it take sainthood to give some support via just agreement and commitment?

    Making a decision to reject govt., even if it is the only step one takes, is an important step. It is action enough just to be a message spreader.

    And anyway, the underground railroad…civil rights activists, etc. were mostly just ordinary people. Without all those ordinary people making decisions on ordinary levels–the Jordan’s of the world–there is no elimination of slavery, segregation, we still have 12 hour work days and child labor, etc. etc.

  • That reminds me of something funny I saw called Atlas Smirked.

  • Well, perhaps not necessarily to reject all aspects of it – for as I argued, how can we do it wholesale other than in the context of some smaller, self-sustaining community? – but at least to be able to function without always depending on, and making use of, “the political rationale” (Foucault’s term), especially once we realize “the political” is not working and it detrimental to our health.

    So perhaps it’s less a matter of making a decision but more a matter of coming to a realization – the notion of ethical self-transformation – which becomes the ground for one’s actions and thoughts.

    As to sainthood – even “saints” started from humble beginnings – gosh, I’m beginning to like that term. It’s a matter of progression.

    So what do you think?

  • “And snickered,” you might add.

  • Baronius

    Oh dear, has this spiraled down into another “somehow we need to change human nature” thread?

  • Here we go again, polluting the thread with all manner of philosophical irrelevancies.

  • There is no better time than the present to create different social and economic networks with the popularity of social networking sites. There are thousands of anarchists, anti-capitalists, and other leftists on facebook. I talk to people in Greek, Turkish, Spanish, Italian, I haven’t even gotten to the Germans or the French yet….there are even a few people I try to talk to speaking languages that google doesn’t have translations for.

  • Nah, don’t bother changing human nature. Let’s just all take anti-depressants and invest in pharmaceutical companies.

  • You can always count on good old Baronius. But don’t you think, Baronius, that “human nature” is malleable? Even St. Paul teaches this when, speaking of virtues, he says “think on these things,” the meaning being: we become what we behold.

    BTW, apropos “snicker”:

    “US variant of the British snigger, modified in the US due to its resemblance to the racial slur nigger.”

    The source.

  • You’re perfectly right, Cindy (#102). There is indeed certain synchronicity in the air. Which is why I’ve always maintained that human history progresses in its own accord and waits for no man (not being sexist here).

    Another way to express it – it’s Zeitgeist.

  • Jordan, watch that, maybe that will answer your question. xxoo

  • Let go, let God. Submit to His will and let His will be done. All will be right with the world. There is nothing we can do to change that which is to come. We might as well give up, submit and await the Second Coming.

  • Well Silas, hat if I am? what does that make you, the anti-Christ?

  • my ‘w’ got lost

    I just found you on twitter, Silas.

  • Just watched the video on your site, Cindy. LOVED it! And if you are God, I shall call you Lilith. I love Lilith. She’s a gay man trapped in a woman’s body. I try to lose the “W” all the time, Cindy. The letter denotes incompetence. Uh oh, she found me on Twitter… let the twatter begin.

  • I didn’t mean if I AM god! I meant what if I am DOING what god wants? lol, you silly…

    I like Lilith, she is the original feminist. You do mean the one from the Garden of Eden, yeah?

    According to Jewish folklore, Lilith was the first wife of Adam. She was banished from the Garden of Eden when she refused to make herself subservient to Adam (specifically, she refused to get into the missionary position with him during sex). When she was cast out, she was made into a demon figure, and Adam was given a second wife, Eve, who was fashioned from his rib to ensure her obedience to her man.The Myth of Lilith

  • So now we’ve got Clavos the Impaler, Jeannie the Button Pusher, Lilith the Destroyer.

    I’ve got to think of another handle.

  • The Artful Roger?

  • Not catchy enough.

    The Artful Dodger perhaps – from Oliver Twist. My foes and friend alike would love that, especially Dreadful who keeps on thinking I’m just weaseling myself out of incoherent positions.

    BTW – just been looking at the Lilith site and the images – check out the last, erotic category.

    She’d surely been demonized for lack of submission.

  • I like the last one better, Cindy – more dynamic and set to good narration and music.

    If we could only get Johnny Cash deliver it, it would be an instant hit.

  • Here’a variation on the theme, Cindy:

    He’s an old hippie.

  • This is a better link.

    Then click on the listen button on top.

  • Set to video.

  • Cavos the Impaler

    The Artful Dodger perhaps – from Oliver Twist. My foes and friend alike would love that…

    Oh, but Cindy’s (excuse me — Lillith’s) idea is so much more clever, and in any case, includes the more obvious theft from Dickens.

  • Clavos the Impaler

    Nah, don’t bother changing human nature…

    I doubt that’s doable…

  • Yes, on second thought. Or Artless, take your pick.

  • The Fartful Codger

    A toast! To truth in advertising.

  • Truth without transparency, yes, let’s drink to that.

  • Baronius

    Roger, the most basic conservative principle (and the one that links philosophical and political conservatism) is: that human nature has finite parameters. Society affects human nature, but it can’t change human nature.

    We’re not looking for a solution to humanness. We don’t expect a New Man to emerge, and our schemes don’t require him. Nor do they require the elimination of the Old Man. We don’t think that reason or the abandonment of property rights will change human nature, because we know they’ve been tried before and they failed.

    We’re non-revolutionaries. We’re non-utopians. We know that leaders are humans, and they’re going to pull the same stunts that we’d pull in their place, so we disperse political power whenever we can. We may fret about the current distribution of power/wealth/whatever, but we’re terrified of the people who want the power to redistribute it.

    We may respect Aragorn the military leader and rightful ruler, and we pay attention to Gandalf who knows the ancient lore, but our hero is Frodo. He knows that power is too strong a temptation, and sets out to destroy it. (BTW, Bush was Boromir, and Obama is Saruman.)

  • The Fartful Codger

    I must agree with Baronius that conservative principles most closely resemble fantasy.

  • The legendary Lilith shall have her revenge. Advances in biotechnology has arrived at the stage where males of the species are no longer required for reproduction. Men will be reduced to slave status, placed in oppressive confinement camps and eradicated. That’s what is coming in 2012 — the uterization of planet Earth.

  • (BTW, Bush was Boromir, and Obama is Saruman.)

    …and Eric Cantor as the Gollum.

  • Well, I suppose that’s what Tolkien had in mind when he wrote the Ring series.

    Or did he?

  • But who is Schmiegel for Chrissake, the most colorful character of all?

    It must be Cindy, or Mark, or I, because want the ring to change the likes of you.

  • The Fartful Codger

    Silas, the Count of Anti-Christo

  • Advances in biotechnology has arrived at the stage where males of the species are no longer required for reproduction.

    WTF? I just refused the missionary position, I didn’t say I wanted to get rid of sex! Couldn’t my revenge just be that men wise up?

  • It reminds of a film, High School High, where the kids are being told they aren’t going to amount to anything because they’re dumb.

  • Silas, the Count of Anti-Christo


  • You had better give up sex, then, because the other goal is even less attainable.

  • What the hell do you have against cucumbers, Lilith?

  • I agree with the Fartful Codger and Baronius…conservatives are out of touch with reality.

  • Baronius,

    Why don’t you just think of me as a fisher, the fisher of men?

    And if you don’t find this sacrilegious, am I contradicting the conservative principles?

  • Count of Anti-Crisco – just your style. I was thinking though of “Silas the Avenger.”

  • Did Baronius say that?

  • “What the hell do you have against cucumbers, Lilith?”

    They can be put to unsavory use.

  • Clavos the Impaler

    They can be put to unsavory use.

    Um, I think that was Silas’ meaning, Roger. But I doubt that most would consider it “unsavory” perhaps titillating, but unsavory? Naw…

  • Correct. I should have let it ride.
    It wasn’t very artful, I admit.

  • Clavos the Impaler

    I agree with the Fartful Codger and Baronius…conservatives are out of touch with reality.

    I don’t think Baronius said that. But, in any case it’s those who actually think that human nature can be changed who are out of touch with reality.

    Your vision of humans all cooperating with each other in a Kumbaya setting is indeed beguiling, lilith, but it ignores the predators among us, who will not stop being predators because you (or society) ask them to.

  • Sophie Tucker

    Is that a kosher half-sour in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

  • ROFLOL!!!!!

  • But is being predatory in our nature? Are we just basic hunters/gatherers? Nothing more, nothing less? Or in our intelligence can we rise above it, sing Kumbaya and just slay the predators? That’s the ticket. We’ll make predators Gladiators.

  • Who is Sophie Tucker?

  • No, grandma. But what big teeth you have got.

  • That was hilarious. And who is the other one, the Fartful Dodger? Are they you, Silas?

  • I think it’s Mark, if he’d ever stoop so low. Initially I thought Dreadful, but the url is always there. Same with Silas.

  • BTW, Lilith,

    Just saw twelve episodes of The Avengers. What a delight. They don’t makes shows like that.

    Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg are just fabulous, what a pair.

    She’s a true dame, just like Lee Remick, both class acts.

    If you like, I’ll provide the link.

  • 126 – That sounds like Mark, no? And 145 – sophisticated and bawdy at the same time. I agree. I will wager it is Mark.

    (stoop so low? – pish posh, he strikes me as sophistication mixed with down-to-earthiness, of course he would stoop so low…what fun would he be otherwise? it’s not like a name change is tantamount to an emoticon or anything!)

  • Oh, my grandma and I loved to watch The Avengers, Roger!

  • Right, it’s the cryptic character of the comments.

    I’m glad then that he’s capable of being playful.

  • Well, here is it, Cindy, in full color.

    The Avengers.

  • Roger,

    Watch President Obama at the GOP House retreat in Baltimore…the full CSPAN coverage.

    Then let’s talk.


  • I heard about it and will follow through. I believe he’s getting tough, like he ought to from the get-go. And that’s only to the good. But anyway, I haven’t foreclosed any possibility, Cobra. I just hope you understand we’re in the same corner.

  • Sophisticated and bawdy so it has to be Mark?!?!?!?! Sweetie, I was Sophie Tucker, LOL.

  • Roger writes:

    “Yes, Cobra, it’s zero tolerance for me insofar as presidents are concerned.”

    Then, since NONE of the previous Presidents have been “perfect”, by your argument you couldn’t be able to name ONE past President as an example.

    Do you see the box you painted yourself in?


  • Cobra, not everything is a declarative statement because of its form. I was expressing my frustration, OK?

  • Silas, you were my first choice for Sophie Tucker, but you removed your web site url, and the Fartful Codger didn’t sound like you…that threw me off, my sophisticated yet bawdy pal.

    I guess Mark (who I am still holding out for being 126) is more sophisticated, less bawdy.

  • I love Sophie Tucker – last of the red hot mammas. I purposely didn’t put in the URL. I figured Roger would catch it. But leave it to Lilith. She don’t lay back fo’ no man!

  • I knew it was you, Silas. That’s why I responded with the little red riding hood.

  • Clavos the Impaler

    I’ll just stick with my hero, Vlad…

  • Clavos,

    Vlad is from the country of my first husband. Romania. He told me Vlad was dismembered (I think) anyway I remember the part where he was buried in a doorway. I guess that stops guys who impale people on trees.

  • Clavos the Impaler

    Oh, but he had so much fun before they caught up with him, Lilith.

    And I’m a fun-loving guy…

  • Don’t make me come down there and bury you in a doorway, Clav!

  • Clavos the Impaler

    LOL, Lilith, LOL!!

    Party pooper 🙁

  • Clavos the Impaler
  • All of this out of a cucumber? Geesh, am I glad I didn’t say zucchini!

  • Thanks for the link, Clavos. Even if partly true, it’s a most insightful account.

    In a sense, I find it encouraging that there is a human being in every one of us. I’ll be more circumspect from now on.

  • Roger,

    I don’t want this day to end without apologizing to you…I am consistently an ass.

    :[ the over-reactor.

  • Jeannie,

    You never need to apologize to me. I understand where you’re coming from. I just didn’t want to see this little disagreement as regards our perception affect our communication.

    So yes, I’m very happy that you responded.

  • Thanks Roger,

    I always burn my bridges while I’m still standing on them.

    :[ nite

  • It’s not the safest practice unless you’re an excellent swimmer.

    Nite, Jeannie, tomorrow.

  • Roger, #176,

    Ha ha, I just read it.:)